[sic] Magazine

American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers

All the buzz leading up to American Wrestlers’ self-titled début was about its mysterious narrative arc that took its unnamed author from Scotland to Missouri via Manchester. Well, now the secret’s out of the bag and it’s unclear precisely why Gary McClure, previously solo and of Working For A Nuclear Free City, was hiding his past. It could have been much worse. Imagine if American Wrestlers had been unveiled to be someone like Darius! Perhaps McClure just wanted his music to do the talking. It’s an old-school (and naïve) notion for an old-school kinda record if true. Knocked together on a shoestring with a pawnshop orchestra and a battered TASCAM 8-track, it’s a collection of mid-Atlantic indie-rock, the kind you might recommend to a Mercury Rev fan after exhausting all the obvious choices. The problem is that McClure, adept as he is with that which he has, doesn’t know how to bring a song to a close. He just repeats a track’s best parts until he gets bored, going for the wettest finish of all on the closing bonus track: the dreaded fade out.

As a result most of the running order outstays its welcome after initially piquing the interest. Be it on pretty ballad “Wild Yonder”, the classic-rock fretwork of “Holy” or even the tape-warped single “I Can Do No Wrong”, it seems that McClure has never heard of the three-minute pop song, nor the power of brevity in general. What that makes for is an album that cancels out its own selling points. While you want to get better acquainted with its dreamy piano lines, scuffed jangle-pop and kitten-soft backing vocals their drippy cousins gatecrash the conversation with irritating regularity. Wishy washy tear-jerker “Cheapshot” undoes the tender buoyancy of second single “Kelly”, for example. The meandering stream of emotions in “Left” strip back to almost nothing, too – probably to the delight of his wife but seem lost in translation to the rest of us. American Wrestlers is no dud, however, and McClure deserves to proudly put his name to it. Even still, you can hear why he wasn’t quite ready to sign it off as a masterpiece.

Best track: “The Rest Of You”

~American Wrestlers is released April 27th 2015 via Fat Possum.~